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Olympic and Paralympic Travelers

Update: Message for U.S. Citizens: Tokyo 2020 Games Preparation – July 19, 2021

Welcome to Japan

The U.S. Embassy and consulates in Japan are pleased to welcome accredited travelers to the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. We look forward to cheering on Team USA!

Japan has implemented numerous immigration and quarantine restrictions that govern accredited travelers coming for the Olympics and Paralympics. We strongly recommend all U.S. citizens accredited by the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games carefully review the information in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s Playbooks, which provide official guidance.

The Embassy would like to remind U.S. citizen Olympic and Paralympic travelers that Tokyo is under a state of emergency declaration. All travelers should ensure they are familiar with the playbooks, as well as any additional quarantine or movement restrictions. Masks are worn almost universally in Japan. Travelers who appear to be violating quarantine, or who are disregarding other COVID-19 mitigation measures, reflect poorly on the international community and may draw unwanted media or other attention.

The Japanese government has announced that no spectators will be allowed at Olympic venues in Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, or Kanagawa. This is in addition to the previous decision to ban foreign spectators from entering Japan for the purpose of attending the Games. Current ticket-holders who wish to obtain information about refunds should contact the ticket agent directly.

We encourage you to follow us on Twitter (@ACSTokyo) and Facebook (ACSTokyo). Travelers should also consider enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

COVID-19 in Japan

The Government of Japan announced that a state of emergency for the Tokyo metropolitan area will take effect on Monday, July 12, 2021 and last until August 22, 2021. The state of emergency in Okinawa is also effective through August 22, 2021. A quasi state of emergency will be extended for the same period in Osaka, Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama. Individual prefectures may announce further localized measures which may be enacted with little or no notice.

The Embassy maintains a COVID-19 information page with more comprehensive information and updates.

Traveling to Japan

Accredited Olympic and Paralympic travelers must comply with very strict immigration and quarantine requirements in order to enter Japan. The Playbooks contain the most up-to-date information on requirements governing your travel to Japan. Athletes and officials should contact USOPC with questions. Accredited members of the media, sponsors, and other travelers should consult with their organization headquarters and designated COVID-19 Liaison Officers (CLOs) responsible for anti-infection measures. All accredited Olympic travelers in all categories should consult with their designated CLO prior to travel. More information on CLOs and this requirement can be found in the Playbooks.

All travelers must ensure they understand Japan’s entry restrictions well in advance of commencing travel. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in either a denial of boarding by the airline or a denial of entry by Japanese immigration officials.

Vaccination status has no impact on an individual’s eligibility to travel to Japan, and Japan’s quarantine restrictions apply regardless of vaccination status.

Returning to the United States

All air travelers to the United States are required to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days prior to boarding their flight. U.S. citizens are subject to this rule. Any travelers, including U.S. citizens, who do not show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 will not be permitted to board their flight. A list of some COVID-19 testing facilities can be found on the Embassy website. This list is not comprehensive.

Being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 does not exempt any traveler from the requirement to receive a negative PCR test no more than three days before boarding a flight to the United States.

Sponsoring organizations may have entered into contracts with specific facilities to provide their travelers with PCR tests. Travelers should check with their COVID-19 prevention officials and ensure they understand how to obtain these tests.

Know Before You Go: Prohibited Substances

Many common medications and over-the-counter drugs in the United States are illegal in Japan. It does not matter if you have a valid U.S. prescription for a medicine/drug which is illegal in Japan. If you bring it with you, you risk arrest and detention by Japanese authorities. It is the responsibility of each traveler to ensure they understand what substances are prohibited. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Japan do not maintain a comprehensive list of prohibited medications or ingredients. Comprehensive information is available only from the Japanese government and is subject to change without notice. All travelers are encouraged to check before traveling to Japan at Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW) website, including reviewing FAQ, or to email yakkan@mhlw.go.jp.

Travelers who need to bring more than the MLHW’s approved quantity of medication or medical devices should obtain a “Yakkan Shoumei” (importation certificate) prior to travelling and present it with the prescription to a customs officer upon arrival in Japan. Certificate approval by the Japanese government may take several weeks to process and should be received before bringing the medication or medical devices to Japan.

All travelers entering Japan with a prescription medication, including medication that is not restricted in Japan, should consider bringing a copy of their doctor’s prescription as well as a letter stating the purpose of the drug.

For more information about bringing medicines into Japan and how to obtain a “Yakkan Shoumei” certificate, please visit the website of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and email yakkan@mhlw.go.jp.

When you make your email inquiry to yakkan@mhlw.go.jp, please include the following information:

  • The drug’s active ingredients
  • The name of the medicine
  • The dosage and quantity
  • Your e-mail address

Lost or Stolen Passports

The Embassy is ready to help U.S. citizens replace passports that are lost or stolen during the Olympic and Paralympic period. If you lose your passport, please contact our team via email (TokyoPPT@state.gov) or phone (03-3224-5000). We will work with you to replace your passport as expeditiously as possible. Please note that you may be required to come to the Embassy in order to receive your new passport. Our ability to issue passports outside of our business hours is extremely limited.

More information can be found here.

Emergencies in Japan

Ensuring the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas is the Department of State’s top priority. The Embassy has compiled lists of resources that may be useful in an emergency:

U.S. citizens needing urgent assistance should contact us by email (TokyoACS@state.gov) or phone (03-3224-5000). If you need after-hours assistance in an emergency, please call 03-3224-5000 and ask to speak with the Embassy’s duty officer. The Embassy’s extensive list of topics and information may have the answer you’re looking for.

Natural Disasters

Japan is a seismically active country with frequent earthquakes, typhoons, and other natural disasters. In some cases, earthquakes can lead to tsunamis. In the event of a disaster during your travel, authorities will provide guidance on what to do in the immediate aftermath. In some cases, an alarm may sound just before an earthquake or other disaster strikes the area. The Japanese government pushes safety alerts to users via several apps, including at least one that provides English language information: the Japan National Tourism Organization’s Safety Tips app.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has a Disaster Prevention Information website with information on how to respond to a natural disaster in the area.

More information can be found on our website.

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